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Tilson joins White Sox after almost 2-year rehab

Outfield prospect called up after tearing left hamstring in MLB debut in August 2016
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- The White Sox embark on a six-game road trip starting in Detroit on Friday, so it seems only fitting that outfielder Charlie Tilson rejoined the team from Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday. Tilson replaced Leury Garcia, who was played on the 10-day disabled list with a left knee sprain.

It was Aug. 2, 2016, a few days after the White Sox acquired Tilson from the Cardinals, when the fleet-footed outfielder made his debut at Comerica Park and picked up his first Major League hit. Tilson received kudos from Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, only to tear his left hamstring chasing a fly ball in the fifth inning.

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CHICAGO -- The White Sox embark on a six-game road trip starting in Detroit on Friday, so it seems only fitting that outfielder Charlie Tilson rejoined the team from Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday. Tilson replaced Leury Garcia, who was played on the 10-day disabled list with a left knee sprain.

It was Aug. 2, 2016, a few days after the White Sox acquired Tilson from the Cardinals, when the fleet-footed outfielder made his debut at Comerica Park and picked up his first Major League hit. Tilson received kudos from Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, only to tear his left hamstring chasing a fly ball in the fifth inning.

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Recovery from surgery on that particular injury was followed by a stress reaction in his right foot and a stress fracture in the navicular bone of his right ankle. Almost two years of setbacks never sapped Tilson's spirit or resolve.

Video: CWS@DET: Tilson injured tracking fly ball in the 5th

"My biggest strong suit was not losing hope," said Tilson, who started in left field Thursday. "I always envisioned this opportunity, the opportunity I've been working so hard for. The confidence is there, and I couldn't wait to get to this clubhouse. I'm extremely excited and pumped to get out there and help the team any way I can."

"He's pretty happy to be up right now, pretty happy to be home in front of hopefully what will be his hometown crowd," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "And we're looking forward to seeing him out there."

Tilson's brother and parents were in attendance Thursday. The 25-year-old left-handed hitter is a native of Winnetka, Ill. MLB Pipeline ranks Tilson as the No. 15 prospect in Chicago's system.

White Sox add Garneau
The White Sox claimed catcher Dustin Garneau off waivers from the Athletics and optioned him to Charlotte. The team also transferred right-handed pitcher Miguel Gonzalez to the 60-day disabled list, keeping the 40-man roster at 40.

Garneau, 30, has appeared in 87 career games with the Rockies (2015-17) and Athletics (2017), hitting .192 with 17 doubles, five home runs, 23 RBIs and 24 walks. He has thrown out 41.4 percent (17-for-41) of attempted basestealers in his Major League career.

The move was necessitated by Welington Castillo's 80-day suspension for violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, announced Thursday. Omar Narvaez became the team's starting catcher while Alfredo Gonzalez was added from Triple-A Charlotte.

Video: LAA@OAK: Garneau catches Jones stealing second base

"I learned a lot from him, especially about calling games and things like that, but mostly the mental side of the game," said Gonzalez of Castillo through interpreter Billy Russo. "He helped me a lot with that during Spring Training.

"I'm very happy to be here even though the circumstances are not the best. I am sad for him, too."

Zavala in the mix
Kevan Smith would have been the choice to replace Castillo if not for the right-handed hitter being on Charlotte's disabled list with right ankle soreness. But one interesting note from the situation was general manager Rick Hahn including Seby Zavala in the callup mix.

Zavala, 24, also is on the disabled list with wrist issues for Double-A Birmingham. But the No. 21 White Sox prospect has 10 home runs and an .877 OPS for the Barons this season.

Video: MIL@CWS: Zavala crushes a three-run homer in the 2nd

"He made a real good impression in Spring Training on Ricky and the staff," Hahn said. "Obviously, he's gotten off to a real nice start in Birmingham, showed a lot of power even though he has been playing with a wrist issue for a while.

"Hard worker, calls a good game, solid catch-and-throw guy. As we talked about going back to the end of last season, despite there perhaps being some other higher profile catching prospects in the organization, Seby's doing everything in his power to make sure he's part of that conversation going forward."

Hahn also talked about Zack Collins, the team's top catching prospect and No. 9 prospect overall. But Hahn reiterated a prospect won't be rushed to the Majors because of a need at this time.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Charlie Tilson